And we’re back! After an extended vacation (I’m terribly sorry) I return from all sorts of food adventures revived and ready for some serious blogging.
Coming soon: new breakfast posts, CGC events, food porn, site updates, foodgawker and tastespotting integration, and more!

A huge pat on the back to the marketing and research teams at Benihana, whoever and wherever they are. It seems they’ve managed to exactly model the American consumer market and create a product, a restaurant concept, perfectly designed to hit all the pleasure centers that we Americans are preprogrammed to desire, even lust after. What’s the secret? Theater in droves, even if it’s terribly corny and borderline offensive to anyone with half a brain. A vaguely Asian ethnicity helps to take the idea even further out of the realm of reality, though I dare you to try to find a Benihana in Japan. And of course scoops and lumps and plops of butter (they painfully refer to it as “Japanese Ice Cream”) center the entire production directly within our fat-loving American tastes.
Salt, fat, and a circus, what’s not to love? This is a legitimate question and one that I struggle to answer despite my gut feeling that I should have a deep and primal urge to hate the place. In all honesty, it tastes good. Really good in fact. Is it really gourmet? Not at all. Is it kind of sort of a little bit awesome? Begrudgingly, yes.
“I can make this food just as well if not better at home.” I should have kept this thought to myself because just a day later I was picking ingredients for what would later be deemed Benihana steak and vegetables. One of my more discerning customers was to be the judge, herself a Benihana veteran and member of the illustrious Chef’s Table birthday club. How did it turn out? Fortunately the fact that the chefs at Benihana cook on your table means it’s stupidly easy to copy their recipes and follow them at home. You’ll only need a few ingredients, and after you practice your knife spinning and sign a form releasing this website and its authors from all legal responsibility you’ll be well on your way to Benihana certification.
Benihana Steak and Vegetables
Takes about 30 minutes, unless you want to marinate. Should serve 2.

About 1-1.5 pounds of nice fatty steak (NY strip or the like, trimmed and marinated in soy sauce and rice vinegar if you have the time.)
3 medium zucchinis or yellow squash, each cut in half once the long way
1/2 yellow onion, cut in wide strips
Lemon juice
Butter
Soy Sauce
Pepper
1. Allow the steak to come to room temperature.
2. Heat a cast iron or other NON non-stick pan as hot as you feel comfortable, at least 1 minute on high heat, with nothing in it. A spritz of water should dance around in little beads on the surface of the pan. While you’re doing this pat the steak dry with a paper towel, the drier the better. Place it in the pan and DON’T TOUCH IT DAMNIT until it releases from the pan with a gentle nudge, about 3 minutes for a 1.5″ thick steak, flip the steak to the other side. After another 3 minutes the steak should be browned on both sides. Remove it from the pan to a cutting board and cut the steak into fairly large cubes, the cubes should be very pink or red in the middle, that’s ok.
3. Return the cubes to the hot pan and add at least 1.5-2 tablespoons of butter, about the same of soy sauce, and the juice of half a lemon. Stir or flip this until the butter is melted and bubbling and the sauce ingredients are combined and slightly thickened on the surfaces of the steak. After a minute or two, depending on your doneness preference, take the pan off the heat, pepper to taste, and serve with rice.
4. The zucchini and onions are almost exactly the same. Brown them in a dry or lightly oiled pan, cut into pieces, return to the pan with the rest of the ingredients and reduce slightly.
Surprisingly good.
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